Aug. 30, 2011
Bearcats looking forward to 2011 season
When a team takes a step back from a breakthrough season, there is a hunger to get back. That is the mindset of Northwest Missouri State women's soccer team.
The Bearcats want to prove they are not the team that went 3-10-5 and 3-9-4 in the MIAA last year. Instead, Northwest wants to be the program that finished 11-8-1 and 7-8-1 in 2009. The 11 wins were the most in school history.
"We need to get back to where we were and get back to the simple things and that is to defend with pride and attack with passion and bring that back in the game," said Northwest coach Tracy Hoza.
Last year's struggles were understandable. The Bearcats lost several key seniors from the 2009 team. Hoza had to rely on numerous freshmen to compete in a strong conference.
Most first-year players go through their ups and downs as they learn what it takes to compete at the college level against veteran players.
The young Bearcats learned. They went 1-1-1 in their last three games.
"Number 1 they are great people," Hoza said. "Keeping them positive was the No. 1 goal.
"To add more talent to the mix and add that with hard work, hopefully that will help us get back to where the soccer program wants to be."
Hoza added seven freshmen to this year's team. A seasoned group of sophomores now has the experience to help the newcomers.
Emilee Davison is one of those sophomores. She started five games and scored three goals.
"She had a great freshman year," Hoza said. "The sophomores are doing a great job: Jordan Albright, Kelsey Adams and Ana Calgaard. They are a pretty solid group. They are confident in themselves and they are helping the newcomers."
Of course, all good teams need strong senior leadership. The Bearcats will get it from a group of five seniors, led by defender Jacque Dedovesh, midfielder Hannah Silvey, midfielder Kelly Obley and forward Erica Hatcher.
Dedovesh is a three-year starter who has a wealth of experience that will help the younger players handle the success and the adversity that crop up during a season.
"Last year was tough," Dedovesh said. "Even though we had just three wins, we had plenty of ties and plenty of overtime so it's not like we lost significantly in our games. We just have to give 10 percent over the 100 percent."
Despite three victories, the Bearcats really were close to having a .500 or better season. Seven of their games went to overtime. Northwest went 0-2-5 in overtime games.
"I learned how to push myself and how to push everybody on the team," Dedovesh said. "That's what the nine of us learned last year after everybody graduated. You have to push hard, be leaders and just try to be the best."
Hoza and Dedovesh are optimistic about the upcoming season. The Bearcats were picked sixth out of nine teams in the MIAA preseason poll. The prediction doesn't dampened Dedovesh outlook.
"We pay attention to it. That sets an expectation for us, but we look at it that we are going to do better than that. Our goal is to be better than No. 6," Dedovesh said.
"I'm really looking forward to the season just because we had a rough season last year, not what we wanted. So far our freshmen have stepped up and are doing the work they need to put in. It's just a matter of time of putting everything together and becoming a winning team."
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